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Sandra Cisneros' Never Marry A Mexican And Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao

1479 words - 6 pages

Sandra Cisneros “Never Marry a Mexican” and Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao are stories that reflect on the cultures in which the characters grew up in. In Never Marry, Clemencia, the narrator, reflects on her past sexual relations as well as her childhood. She speaks of her parents’ marriage and then transitions into her relationship with college professor and his son. In Oscar Wao, Yunior, the narrator, gives a second-hand retelling of Oscar’s experiences in New Jersey growing up as well as in the Dominican Republic. A person’s identity is largely influenced by their culture, this is especially the case in Hispanic cultures. The social constraints that these cultures place on social class, sexuality, and gender norms can be very detrimental to a person’s self-esteem.
A person’s social class influences the environment that they are raised in. When a person grows up in a certain environment they begin to become accustomed to it, thus when they enter into another class they experience quite a shock. “And newspaper set on the table whenever my grandpa sliced watermelons, and how embarrassed she would be when her boyfriend, my father, would come over and there were newspapers all over the kitchen floor and table (Cisneros 153).” Clemencia’s father came from a very well-off family in Mexico, a family where they used cloth napkins as well as had proper place settings; however; Clemencia’s mother came from a family that had cracked plates, no tablecloth, and allowed people to grab silverware as it was needed from the middle of the table. Since Clemencia’s father came from a well-off family, he and Clemencia’s mother were given a lot of guff from his family as he married down by marrying her. Marrying a poor, white woman would have been a completely different story by Clemencia’s father’s family’s standards. Clemencia’s mother often felt ashamed when Clemencia’s father would come over because her family was not as refined as he was accustomed to. Hispanic cultures emphasize staying within your own economic class, however, if you marry a person outside of your country, depending on the country, that may be seen as okay. Disregarding the age factor, had Clemencia’s mother married a poor Mexican she may have not had to undergo so many tribulations and would not have warned her daughters as much about marriage.
Due to seeing how her parents’ marriage was built on a rocky foundation, Clemencia attributed only bad feelings to marriage. She began to have relationships with men who were already married, as this allowed her to have only the good part of a relationship. Clemencia began a relationship with her already married professor, Drew, in college. While she was living in a run-down apartment, he and his wife, Megan, were living in a very nice house. One time after visiting Drew’s house, Clemencia decided to place gummy bears all over the house in places that only his wife would find. Clemencia also called him in the middle of the night...

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